Building on Her Father’s Legacy

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Raymond Chew Sue Ann

(marketingmagazine.com.my) – A larger-than-life figure, Raymond ran a very successful business distinguished by many personal touches. In many ways he was the last of a breed of men who took care of everything, finding time for clients, who later became friends all whilst being there for his family.

His traits, both personal and professional rubbed off on his daughter Chew Sue Ann who has since taken over the reins of Pos Ad Group, now rebranded to shopper360, established by the late Raymond.

Sue Ann, currently the Group Managing Director of shopper360, saw the need to reposition the company to keep up with the changing times, as their business has expanded and are tackling new challenges in today’s competitive market.

Speaking to MARKETING Magazine, Sue Ann that admitted that she only got to know her father better after his passing.

“He was a very prominent person, and I never knew that until I started writing a book about him. Since he passed away, every single person I met – whether his clients or friends – have told me many things about him and the stories they shared really paint a picture of a man who was larger than life.

“People would say that he was such a smart person. He knew how to sell sand to the Arabs. Not just that, people tell me even now about his “soft” side. He taught me that it was important to spend time with the family. He insisted that I find the time, even as a business owner, to set aside time for family matters.

“I have fond memories of spending time with him, going on holidays and having him always encourage me. He would say, “Sue Ann, you will be better than me, because of all the training you have had.”

“Every generation always supersedes the current generation. It’s usually a common scenario where a lot of business owners can’t let go and hand over their legacy to the next generation. They have what is known as ‘founder’s syndrome’, where they find it hard to believe that their children can do a better job than themselves.

“My dad, however, was always so open and available to see me at any time. When I was about to join a new start up, he commented, “Why don’t you come and work for me? You sit on the board, so you know what is happening, but at the same time, I will get you involved in the day-to-day running of the company.

“So I was a management trainee as well as a supervisor, and as I moved around, this experience put me in good stead. His leadership style was very different from how I would have approached it. He was very involved, overseeing every minute detail. This approach, however, might not work so well these days, especially with today’s millennials, as they want to feel ownership in what they do. Hence the difference in my approach, all in all, I can say that my dad taught me a lot, I admire and respect him, but with the changing times, our approach needs to change too, to retain our effectiveness and relevance in the marketplace.

Sue Ann admits that her father “Gave me confidence and freedom to disappoint him. He instilled in me the ability to say no and at the same time, to be myself, and I have since experienced the importance of those lessons daily. He helped me anchor my priorities in the things that matter because he was the epitome of someone who was not chasing material wealth but living a life of substance, leaving behind a true legacy.

With that foundation, putting people first has been important, and it’s now my guiding principle in how I run my business today. Even our recent office renovation is based on my dad’s guiding principle of “Whatever is good for the people is good for me.”

“Pos Ad was the legacy he left me and only recently did we change it to shopper360. My dad’s premise was brand building, but the business has since evolved and our portfolio now includes taking products from infancy into its different life cycles and touch points. He took advertisers on the brand building journey, but when I took over, I realized that there was a lot more challenges, and competition today versus my dad’s time. Advertising is still important, but soon clients started asking me, “How effective is your advertising? Why should I continue to invest in your business?”

Senior Management Team shopper360
“Another legacy my dad left behind was a culture of client servicing, one that was based on real relationships and an aggressive level of customer satisfaction. We spent a lot of time building bridges with clients on a very personal level.

“I felt challenged, especially as a woman filling in my dad’s shoes, some things that posed no problem at all to him were a struggle for me. But the big question in this day and age was, “Is brand building still relevant?” To answer this, I did an audit via survey, of my clients and ourselves. The results of this, led to the birth of shopper360.

“We had to revisit several aspects of our business, to engage with shoppers and our clients at every touch point. We invested in research to truly understand shoppers’ buying habits, what they were buying and other items that they bought as well.

“With a well-established business as Raymond’s legacy, my challenge was to chart a course that would retain the relevancy of the business and yet propel us to new heights and to the next level.

“Our core values are depicted on banners hanging from our office ceilings, four values that will shape and better equip our people for the glowing future of the company. I want to have experts in my company, to elevate our position as the market leaders in Shopper Marketing.

“‘Forward Thinking, Forward Doing’ is another value that is essential to our survival and growth, constantly producing creative and dynamic strategies and innovations that heighten our relevance to shoppers and clients alike. Heritage values are also important to me, which is why they make up our final 2 values: Collaborative, Enjoy and Respect. 

“We prize collaboration in everything we do because there is so much more we can accomplish together as a team. We enjoy organizing events both with clients and internal staff, as it brings out the fun whilst maintaining the respect we have for each other.”

With these three core values and the new direction, Sue Ann is confident on attaining a bright future for shopper360.

With Sue Ann’s infectious smile and warm demeanour the rest of the staff are seen to emulate the lady boss.

In October this year, Pos Ad will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary and a book on Raymond’s legacy will be published. If you are interested to find out more on the man behind Pos Ad, drop a line at  [email protected]


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